Fat Joe On Changing Black & Brown Lives Through Market America: "It’s Far From A Pyramid"
Fat Joe plans to change lives. How? With his marketing company, of course. Since being named president of Urban & Latino Development of Market America in 2014, the Terror Squad rapper has received backlash for pushing the agenda of a "pyramid scheme." But, Joey cleared up the misconceptions about his business.
“I know you may hear the word ‘pyramid,’" Joe said to us. "There are two lines of distribution and the truth is, I have people on my team working under me who make more money than me. So the stories you hear are untrue. People are like ‘why is this guy getting involved with this?’ I see through all the rhetoric and propaganda. I see how many people are helped and see how many people’s lives are changed. This isn’t made for a rapper [though]. This is made for a normal person.”
Fat Joe, né Joseph Cartagena, has been a friend of Market America founders JR & Loren Ridinger for over 15 years. After becoming their “celebrity friend” at conferences, Joe found out more about the business and realized there wasn’t enough Latino/African American representation in the company. Once he saw the overall plan – the bigger picture – he knew he had to get involved.
"One day I asked JR how many people he had in the company," he began to explain. "He said 180,000. I said 'How many Latino?' He said two. 'How many are Black?' He said two. I asked how many white people were in it. He said 100,000 white people, 80,000 Asians, and over 400 people have become millionaires.
Then I asked why are there only two Latinos and two blacks. He said 'Everytime I go to the hood and try to tell the Latinos and blacks, they think I'm the white guy trying to take advantage of them.' He said he doesn't know anybody in the business as passionate as me that can go talk to Latinos and blacks. Then I said 'Maybe I'm interested in this business. Show me the plan.' I saw the plan and how karma-based it was and how much we can help people succeed but at the same time you succeed as well."
Aside from cultivating his business with Market America's SHOP.com, Cartagena is also working on releasing two albums this year. And get this, he's also penning an upcoming telenovela.
“I’m not just working with SHOP.com," said Cartagena. "I’m an executive in my music, I’m writing movies, and I don’t even want to tell you this, but I’m actually writing a telenovela right now. So you can know that one.” Say word?
The "Lean Back" MC touched on his forthcoming album, Diggin Through The Crates, with A.G. of Show & A.G. and Diamond D, plus his collaborative album with Remy Ma. Joe and the #LHHNY star recently shot the video for "All The Way Up" with Fred the Godson, which will serve as the first offering off their joint album.
"I'm excited because my biggest success was with her. "Lean Back" went 47 weeks at No. 1 and we just completed a whole album that's phenomenal. For the underground heads, I'm almost completed with this Diggin' Through The Crates album." – Tony Centeno